MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - In November 2016, Michael Powers was going to a Chinese buffet in Myrtle Beach as part of his normal routine.
This time, however, he was too early. A worker told him to come back in 15 minutes, so he wandered next store to kill some time. Those doors were open. It was a boxing gym, and he was welcomed inside.
On Nov. 16, 2016, Powers's life changed forever.
"You have to start caring about yourself and treating yourself right before anyone else will," Powers said.
That's one of the many lessons he's learned since he's focused on his health through diet and exercise.
"Get up and live, because you ain't gonna live sitting down," he said.
Powers has found health inspiration through a 100-pound bag at a local Title Boxing franchise.
"You start coming and you start getting that winning spirit, and you don't want that bag to get the best of you," he said.
Before reinventing his daily routines, he was 587 pounds. In order to weigh himself, Powers would go to his father's work off S.C. 90 and use a truck scale.
"You can sit there and you can blame everybody in the world, and it's easy to do. The bigger you get, you start shutting people off and the worse it gets, your health starts going, and next thing you know everything around you starts falling apart and you realize what's going on, and it's yourself," he said. "You've got to fix yourself before anybody else can help you out."
Now, after losing 217 pounds in 14 months, he's sleeping in a bed for the first time in five years. He's fitting in a car. He's enjoying life.
Michael Powers is known as "Big Mike" at his Title Boxing gym. He said when someone is as overweight as he was, they take for granted the little things.
"I remember the first time I tied my own shoes, man. I felt like a kindergarten kid. I wanted to tell everyone in the world, you know," he said.
Big Mike said he still has daily challenges and is sometimes faced with the demons of his former life, but he is persistent in the change he's made happen.
"Forgive yourself and keep going. It's not the end of the world," Powers said.
He goes to Title Boxing five days a week, once or twice a day, and usually walks a mile before class, too.
Big Mike hasn't been back to that Chinese buffet. He's more interested in adding to his life span, enjoying time with his family and friends and working at his new business.
He formerly owned a taxi service, and now he's building a food truck that will focus on healthy eating and lifestyles. Powers hopes his life changes can inspire others.
"You're stepping forward instead of stepping back," he said. "Every day you do yourself better is another day you're adding to your life. Yeah, rock on!"
His goal is to be at or below 300 pounds by May 1 of this year.